The question everyone asks

We usually don’t have to wait long before someone asks, “What has been your favorite place?”  When we see old friends or meet new people, they are aghast to discover that we’ve been traveling nonstop for three years with no home or permanent address. In that three years our route took us across, up, and down the US, two summers in Canada, and around the world in an epic trip lasting more than a year.  Their curiosity usually boils down to that one simple question.

“Hmmm.. . Well, how could we choose from so many great places…” we say, stumbling for a good answer. The other day we decided enough was enough. We really needed a better answer to that simple question.

During the past three years, we’ve visited 16 countries. So, we should start with those, but how do we compare Turkey with Cambodia or New Zealand? That seems impossible! After a lot of discussion, we decided to divide the world into geographic regions and choose a favorite country from each group,

Region 1: Asia. Countries visited; Cambodia, China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.

Two places stood out for us as places that both exceeded our expectations and we expect to return on a future visit. And it’s crazy that already in this first region we can’t choose which of our two finalists is the best.

Preah Khan Preah Khan Huntington Gardens

CAMBODIA – specifically Siem Reap: We discovered a heavily touristed town can still be inexpensive and charming. Siem Reap, the nearest town to the Angkor Wat archaeological sites, offered lots to see and do. We plan to return for a much longer stay and a more serious look at it’s many historic sites.

DSC08278

VIETNAM – specifically Hoi An: The perfect combination for us: a quaint and historic town; proximity to the sea; great and inexpensive food; and exploring everything by walking or using a free hotel bike

 

Region 2: Australasia.   Countries visited; Australia, New Zealand.

NEW ZEALAND: The country is gorgeous, the people are friendly, and we could have stayed forever. New Zealand should win if for no other reason than every one of the over 30 beaches we visited was in pristine condition with not one bit of litter.

NEW ZEALAND: The country is gorgeous, the people are friendly, and we could have stayed forever. New Zealand should win if for no other reason than every one of the over 30 beaches we visited was in pristine condition with not one bit of litter.

 

Region 3: Africa. Places visited; Canary Islands (Spain), Madeira Islands (Portugal), Morocco, Tanzania.

TANZANIA: Our safari was the trip of a lifetime. We know everyone says that, but we doubt we’ll ever have such a rich travel experience again. Thanks to our guides, Chigamba and Mika, of Mark Thornton Safaris.

TANZANIA: Our safari was the trip of a lifetime. We know everyone says that, but we doubt we’ll ever have such a rich travel experience again. Thanks to our guides, Chigamba and Mika, of Mark Thornton Safaris.

 

Region 4: Europe. Countries visited; Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey.

Portugal was the only country in this group we’d never been to before. So, maybe it’s not a coincidence that new-to-us Portugal topped the others, though Chania (in Crete), Greece was a close second.

PORTUGAL- specifically Porto: A month’s stay wasn’t long enough to enjoy and explore Porto. Our wonderful AirBnB was well located in the heart of the city. We walked every day past tiled, centuries old buildings, and lively street art.

PORTUGAL– specifically Porto: A month’s stay wasn’t long enough to enjoy and explore Porto. Our wonderful AirBnB was well located in the heart of the city. We walked every day past tiled, centuries old buildings, and lively street art.

 

We think we were very lucky to have had so many “favorites.” What’s yours?

 

 

December 2015

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Around-the World - 2013-14 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to The question everyone asks

  1. Pingback: Our Best of the Best: wildlife, beaches, snorkeling | simpletravelourway

  2. So glad to see that Portugal topped your list for Europe as it’s stolen our hearts as well. We’re finding it the perfect place to set up a home base to explore the rest of Europe and hop over to Africa as well. Looking through your blog it seems as though our travel itch has a lot of parallels with yours and, although the destinations differ, the excitement and wonder of finding new places is very similar. Here’s to wandering! Anita

  3. restlessjo says:

    I did love Porto but there’s so much out there I’d still love to see. 🙂

  4. Merrill says:

    We get asked that all the time as well. I usually say you can find something good and beautiful in each and every place! I might to break it down by region like you did and give it some thought. Hey, that sounds like a good idea for a future blog post! Thanks.

    • You are welcome. We look forward to reading that blog post of yours. You are right — in our experience — that, as you say, “…you can find something good and beautiful in each and every place.”

  5. So glad you didn’t feel obligated to pick just one. I’m trying to find a way to go to your European favorite Porto next year – strictly from your recommendation … how’s that for feeling powerful??

  6. It’s impossible to choose just one place when there are so many beautiful parts of the world.

  7. plaidcamper says:

    An enjoyable post, and a hard question to answer! Being evasive, I’d say my favourite country (yet to visit) is going to be New Zealand. Just have to figure out the timing and funding to make a trip happen…

  8. Greg Long says:

    Great post. My favorite place I visited in 2015 was Sorrento. There I swam in the Bay of Naples with Vesuvius overlooking us. The tow was bustling. Lots of great cliffside views for photos. And Pompeii is right next door ☺

  9. Cliff Mail says:

    We get asked the same question and like you always find it difficult to give a satisfactory answer (for them). We enjoyed most places we visited because they all tended to offer up a different experience and we have found it difficult to rate one above the the other. There are certainly places we would encourage people to visit but we would also strongly encourage travellers to look for the experiences, they are our fondest memories. Your Tanzanian experience is a great example.

    • Yes, one of the key questions we ask ourselves when planning trips is about just what you focus on here: experience. “What is the experience that we want to have?” That simple question is deceptively simple, because, if you haven’t been there, maybe you can’t yet know what experience you want to have there. Keeping open to the possibilities of the place we’re visiting is also key.

  10. We broke our favorites up by categories as well, although slightly differently.
    Country: Thailand
    Larger city: Prague
    Quaint city: Brugge
    Off the beaten path: Bled, Slovenia
    Most scenic: Yellowstone
    Best animal adventures: Zimbabwe

  11. canadianglobetrotter says:

    Good stuff! My favourites are
    Asia: China
    South America: Argentina
    Europe: Bosnia and Poland!

    Happy travels : )

  12. What a wonderful review of your favorites… !!

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